#982: Recipe for the Perfect Hamburger

September 19th, 2018 § permalink

Contrary to popular assertions, the perfect hamburger is not necessarily grilled.

Nor is it necessarily charbroiled, parboiled, batter-dipped, smashed, skillet-fried, filleted, sous vide’d, sautéed, shwenkered, spatchcocked if such a thing can be done with ground meat, griddled up, braised or poached in a light crème sauce.

The perfect hamburger is, however, served by a woman whose phone rings while you’re talking. » Read the rest of this entry «

#949: A Poetry of Things

July 4th, 2018 § permalink

“This Pyrex dish was usually used to make rice pudding or bread pudding. I didn’t eat either but the dish and I were bonded together. When my mother died, I wanted that bond to continue. The dish was a way to feel close to my mother.”

“I just liked the antique aspect of the sewing machine. One day I’ll have it oiled and fixed.”

“I remember when my mother first originally gave me this plane. The look of excitement and glee she had on her face was unexplainable.”

A metal airplane decoration. A Pyrex dish. A grandmother’s sewing machine and the “misty, moist memories” from a hose used in a project’s garden. This is the story of public housing. » Read the rest of this entry «

#938: On the Move

June 8th, 2018 § permalink

I was 23, out in the suburbs listening to a village official give a lackluster breakdown of an official’s sudden and slightly suspicious departure.

It was me and two other fledglings covering it, a man and a woman. I remember them as kids and I was a kid at the time, so they must have been absolute infants. They stumbled politely over questions, careful not to offend since they had to see, work with and get access from these people day after day, week after week. They pussyfooted over questions, but I could say something they couldn’t.

“Paul Dailing, Chicago Tribune,” I said. Everyone turned to watch me ask the question everyone had been dancing around.

And that’s it. That’s as close as I got. » Read the rest of this entry «

#936: Shameless Self-Promotion Theatre, Part 4

June 4th, 2018 § permalink

It’s summer. The birds are singing, the grass is green, the president is floating a potential Blagojevich pardon either as a form of political distraction or as the word salad that erupts when someone wakes up the commander in chief too early from nap-naps and the Chicago Corruption Walking Tour is ready to go for 2018.

Buy your tickets now at Dabble.co. » Read the rest of this entry «

#918: A Word to the Millionaires

April 23rd, 2018 § permalink

Never mind how I got it, but I have a bit of Tribune Tower.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#909: Dancing Among Ghosts

April 2nd, 2018 § permalink

The sunlit morning invited. It was cool and sharp, crisp and wonderful. It asked the city to dance. So we did.

A springtime dance with a city isn’t your normal nightclub shimmy. It’s a complex, choreographed number set to the tune of car horns, train rattles and the few chirping birds giving this whole “spring” thing a tentative go.

We dance among each other, bowing and curtsying out of the way. We stand and sit to give others seats on trains. We hustle up the tempo to sashay just a touch faster past the ones whose role in the dance is to beg for change. We stop and pirouette when encountering an old friend on the sidewalk, a momentary pas de deux before rejoining the grand ballet.

And we dance among ghosts, if we know enough. » Read the rest of this entry «

#905: The Live Remote

March 23rd, 2018 § permalink

“That TV news truck still outside?” Gene asked, looking up from his computer.

“Yeah,” I said, tossing my coat on the chair next to my desk. “Do you know what that’s about?”

“Guy got stabbed in the neck. I think it happened by Mother Hubbard’s because I was walking in and that’s the only part of the sidewalk that got washed.”

I hot-watered my instant coffee in the breakroom, then walked back to Gene’s desk and told him The Story. » Read the rest of this entry «

#852: 6:30 a.m. at the Porno Shop

November 20th, 2017 § permalink

He looked the exact sort of person who should be working at a porno shop at 6:30 a.m. » Read the rest of this entry «

#848: The Last War Dance

November 10th, 2017 § permalink

Chicago’s last war dance started by the Wrigley Building, then headed west along the riverbank past Trump Tower, Marina City, and The 3D Printer Experience. » Read the rest of this entry «

#834: Crescent Sky

August 25th, 2017 § permalink

It was glorious to see so many care.

The IBM-turned-AMA building on the Chicago River, the blackest glassiest boxiest box of all the glassy black boxes of Chicago architecture, had poured out its workers.

All the buildings had, of course, but the American Medical Association headquarters building spewed most effectively onto its own plaza. Between Miesian glass and swishing brown river, the workers poured from River North and the Loop offices puddled.

They puddled to look-not-look at the sky. » Read the rest of this entry «

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